When I first started creating content online one of the things that used to bug me was the answer given to this question:
‘How do I know what to write that will resonate and be liked by my audience?’
The answer was always: ‘Ask your existing audience what problems they are having.’
Of course though, back when I was starting this website, most of you who are reading this weren’t here. So I really had no one to ask and just had to guess.
Now you are probably wondering what on earth this has to do with bootcamp. Let me show you were I am going with this.
I think trainers who are just starting out also get cheesed off by the answer to a different question.
The question this time is ‘What is the best way to get more clients?’
And the answer that usually comes back is ‘Referrals from existing clients are best’ which I’m sure cheeses you off to no end because you don’t have many clients yet!
The truth is though that referrals are the best, but when you are starting out with just a couple of clients the referral method doesn’t work as well as it does with a large pool of clients. You need to employ some other tactics too.
You need to get your first ten clients.
Ten clients will give you a great group to start with. Ten clients will allow you to run fun, team sessions that will get your bootcamp talked about. Ten clients will get you at least one person who will talk up your bootcamp like crazy to their friends.
How to get your first ten
Seth Godin, writer of unorthodox business management, wrote a post on this very topic. I want to share part of it with you here:
Find ten people. Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you…
Those ten people need what you have to sell, or want it. And if they love it, you win. If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people (or a hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three). Repeat.
If they don’t love it, you need a new product. Start over.
Your idea spreads. Your business grows. Not as fast as you want, but faster than you could ever imagine.
This approach changes the posture and timing of everything you do.
You can no longer market to the anonymous masses. They’re not anonymous and they’re not masses. You can only market to people who are willing participants. Like this group of ten.
Seth is saying, once you have 10 clients, it will put a face to the people you are actually trying to serve. The imaginary people you were thinking of when you decided to start a bootcamp have suddenly appeared as real people.
Putting an actual face to these people completely changes the way you talk and act about your business. It gives you a new confidence which most of us lack in those early days.
But approaching those first ten is hard when you don’t have that confidence yet.
Which brings me to something else that I want you to watch before we go on.
The video features Brandon Stanton. You may know his work, just not his name. He runs my favourite Facebook page (which is also a website) called Humans of New York.
Brandon spends a lot of time approaching people completely cold in – what I can attest to from my visit there – one of the busiest and seemingly time poor cultures. Not only that but he gets them to open up about emotional aspects of their life in a short period of time.
Watch the video here if you can’t see it.
There are two really useful things I think we can take away from his talk:
- “It had nothing to do with the words I was saying. It was all about the energy that your giving off. It’s just one hundred percent energy.”
- “It’s almost impossible to not be nervous if you haven’t approached people 10,000 times.”
As soon as I heard this I had a flash back to me trying to sit down and cold sell people early in my PT days. I was so damn nervous that I would forget what I was saying, get tongue tied and chicken out on asking for the sale.
I consider myself a confident guy. Stand me up in front of 500 people and I will be fine, but in the moment of selling someone on bootcamp or personal training I put so much importance on that sale that I couldn’t close the sale.
The only way I got better was by doing it over and over again. Things really clicked for me when I stopped trying to memorize sales lines and just starting have conversations with people.
But it takes practice and time to get to that point.
You need to fake it until you make it.
You will suck at first but you will get better!
How to approach people
The nerves you feel and the way you are unsure of yourself can only be passed in one way. By doing it over and over and over again.
There are some ways however that we can lessen the nerves while you are practicing which will give you more confidence.
- Meet people you share a common interest with. I know that a lot of trainers who focus on Mums join a lot of mother’s clubs and groups both online and offline. The fact that they are a trainer usually comes up naturally at some point which gives one a warmer edge to talk about what they do.
- Talk to people in a casual setting. A cafe is always a nice place if a new prospect wants to meet you face to face.
- Ask a client or friend if they know anyone who might be interested. A warm prospect who is already familiar with your business will be much easier to talk to then one who isn’t.
In general, try to make it feel less like a sales pitch for both yourself and the person you are sitting down or talking on the phone with.
My ‘new client’ conversation
I don’t really follow a sales formula when talking to leads. It’s probably a big no-no but I just find them too restrictive and forced.
Instead I have a conversation with them and just try to help them. If they have taken the time to contact me then they are interested in bootcamp. If they are interested in bootcamp then they will probably join so I should do my best to help them.
I have no emotional attachment to the sale because I’m just interested in helping them, not trying to sell them. This helps me not sound desperate too.
If you are interested, my conversations usually go something like this:
Me: “Hi, this is Kyle from such-and-such. You contacted us about your interest in our bootcamp.”
Client: “Hi, yes that’s me.” And then they might ask me a question which I will answer and may also take the conversation on a completely different tangent.
M: “What timeslot were in interested in?”
C: “The 6am one.”
M: “Cool, and did you want to come two or three times a week.”
C: “Three days please.”
Awesome, they have basically just signed up and I’m four sentences in. Now before I wrap up I try to get to know a bit more about them, I find this helps me remember their name when I meet them and it helps me build some rapport too.
M: “Have you done something like a bootcamp before?”
C: “No, I’m actually a bit nervous about it.”
M: “You will be fine. Most of our participants started bootcamp from a very low base of fitness. We scale our sessions so they will start easier and get harder as you get fitter.”
This might lead into a couple more questions before I ask my final question.
M: “Do you have any questions for me about bootcamp?”
Then I answer any questions they have.
C: “Ok, great. Can I please have your full name, phone number and email and I will email you the details of where we meet and how to pay. I also have a form I will need you to fill out for the first session.”
They do so and that’s it!
I have very, very rarely had a client pull out between that conversation and their first session. Due to the nature of the questions the conversation can vary a lot from time to time.
This is my conversation though. Don’t just copy me, make your own. Make one you are comfortable with.
A few tips on capturing leads
As I mentioned above, asking clients or friends for referrals is an excellent way to meet new potential clients but you should have some other systems in place too.
The biggest thing you should have for long term lead collection is a website with a contact form giving you their name, phone number, email, preferred contact method and time and services they are interested in. This generates the hottest leads that are very easily to turn into clients.
Then all you have to do is set up ways to get people to your website. This way you can get people wanting to join your bootcamp while you are training people, spending time with your family and sleeping, not just when you are actively looking for new people.
Drive people to your website using:
- Google – read a basic article on SEO to find out how
- Set up a Facebook page
- If you are tech savvy, Facebook Ads is fantastic at the moment
- Ask your trainer friends to share something for you on their pages
- Get a simple A-Frame done with your logo and website – set it up at your bootcamp location
- Print call-to-action signs and put them up around your local shopping strips (community news, power poles, shop fronts)
- Leaflet drop – I find leaflet drops have diminishing returns so I just recommend doing this just once at the start of your business. Do not just drop a pretty flyer in the box, it will get tossed out with all the other glossy junk mail. Type up a message on a plain piece of paper instead. Yellow paper works well.
I should mention though that websites are fantastic for that trickle of new clients over time. But to start with you are just going to have to get up and get out there and meet people.
I’m sorry that there is no easy shortcut. I really wish I could give you one.
Remember, talk to people about your bootcamp, don’t try to ‘sell’ them. Help them and serve them rather then manipulating them with sales tactics.
You won’t get everyone to join, but you will get more comfortable with it over time. You just need practice.
What should you do after you get your first 10 clients?
Get your first 20! Then you will be laughing.
What is your favourite way to capture new clients? Share it in the comments below.
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Images: Jonathon Kos-Read, Nicolas Deecoopman, Nick Page (CC)
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.
Sheriff Mohamed says
Great,,, i would like know is thr any ebook for technical explanation about the exercises.. eg , when squatting sink with your hips flat back weight on the heal,drive fast up n the concentric part..?